Behind the Sea - Return to the Mangyan

From the ten-part Documentary series "Balkan Express"

A Film by Gernot Stadler

Documentation, 52 min, 2007
GS-Film, ORF/3sat
Written and directed by
Gernot Stadler
Camera Assistance & Sound
Dietmar Kaltenhofer
ORF Enterprise

For the documentary film “Behind the Sea – Return to the Mangyan”, director Gernot Stadler accompanied Veronika Avila-Miranda from Carinthia on her journey to the Hananoo Mangyan tribe on the Philippine island of Mindoro. Twenty years ago, Avila-Miranda worked as an ethnology student on a research project at the University of Zurich on the indigenous people of Mindoro and spent a total of about two years living with the Mangyan people. Returning to the Mangyan was a long-cherished wish, which the ethnologist finally fulfilled in the winter of 2007.

But the return after such a long time was also a departure into the unknown. What had become of the friends and acquaintances of that time? Who was still alive? Would she be welcomed once again in the village? And above all: how had the life of the Mangyan changed? Avila-Miranda was accompanied on her journey by the Austrian photographer Kurt Hörbst, who captured the daily life of the Mangyan in various photo reports.

The film is also an inventory of a culture in the field of tension between Western influences and the need to protect one’s own habitat and preserve one’s own identity.